MIGRANTE International on Tuesday called for an investigation of why, it said, the most number of Filipino workers were executed during the Aquino administration after another Filipino was beheaded in Saudi Arabia on Monday.
“The most number of [Filipino workers] on death row [abroad] were executed under [the] Aquino [administration],” group chairman Garry Martinez said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday confirmed the beheading of Joven Esteva, a resident of General Santos City, for killing his employer in 2007.
“We have provided Mr. Esteva all necessary and appropriate legal and consular assistance, including providing a lawyer, since his arrest in 2007,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.
“Regrettably, despite the efforts of the Philippine government, the family of the victim refused to grant forgiveness,” Jose said.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is also Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers’ Concerns, expressed sadness over Esteva’s execution.
He said there were 80 Filipinos on death row abroad, and of those 27 were in Saudi Arabia. He said Esteva’s execution brought to 40 the total number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year.
Malacañang said it had not been remiss in helping Esteva and other Filipinos working abroad.
“Our Department of Foreign Affairs and other agencies, such as the Department of Labor and Employment, have always monitored the situation of all Filipinos working and living abroad,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.
“Assistance to nationals is an important commitment of our country in recognition of the important contribution of [Filipino workers] to our economy.”
Martinez said Esteva’s execution represented a dark day for migrant workers.
“A week before we commemorate the death anniversary of Flor Contemplacion, we call for an investigation [of Esteva’s death],” he said
Contemplacion was a Filipino maid who was hanged in Singapore for killing fellow housemaid Delia Maga and a four-year old Singaporean child on March 17, 1995. She was 42 when she was executed.
Martinez said Esteva was “the seventh Filipino on death row who was executed within Aquino’s four years in office, the most number of executions under one regime since the Philippine labor export policy was implemented in the 1970s.
“Another [Filipino], Mary Jane Veloso, is reportedly set to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia for drug-related charges. Her case is currently under review by the Indonesian Supreme Court.
“We are deeply concerned for the other [Filipinos] on death row and those in detention. How many Flors, Carlitos, Jovens and Mary Janes more can we expect to suffer the same fate?
There are at least 123 more Filipinos on death row in various parts of the world.
In December last year Carlito Lana, 37, was beheaded by the Saudi government for killing his employer.
“At the rate the Aquino government is going, we can expect more executions in the next few years. The government has not shown transparency nor accountability for failing to save the Filipinos on death row,” Martinez said. With Vito Barcelo and Joyce Pangco Pañares